If you’re a woman enjoying a relationship with a man, you might be confused about a thing or two. Fear not, we’ve got the low down on the male mind — How Men Think.

Sometimes its hard to believe that men and women don’t come from different planets. Truth be told, we are definitely two different species in many ways. But the good news is, when men and women learn to understand their differences, they can become beautiful compliments to each other and can thrive in relationship. If you want to see a man flourish and grow in a relationship, here are some crucial tips to keep in mind to help you understand the male mind.

Men are wired to protect and provide.
The male brain is wired to protect his “tribe” from threats, even in our modern day world. If you are a strong, independent woman, you may want to reject a man’s need to protect, knowing you can handle anything on your own. However, it is important to know that when a man protects, it never means that he thinks you’re incapable or weak. It means that he is responding to his most basic biological instincts, and that he sees you as something valuable and worth protecting.

Men are single focused.
In our more primitive human history, men and women had distinct roles. Men hunted. Women gathered. While our world has progressed, not much has changed when it comes to the wiring of the male and female brain.

Men are wired to focus on one task at a time. Think about it…the hunter doesn’t aim for the entire herd. He could miss his target. He only aims for one target at a time. A woman gathering berries in a field looks for as many berries as she can find, not just one. Her brain has a wide angle lens. The male brain has a single focus lens. The key here is to remember that one is not better than the other. Both serve an important function, which is essentially to keep the “tribe” alive. Men and women can be a great compliment to each other when our differences are understood.

Men are problem solvers.
Have you ever felt frustrated when you’re trying to vent about something that happened in your day, and your man keeps trying to solve your problem? Women like to vent and process their feelings, and don’t necessarily need a solution. Men like to solve the problem. Again, think single focused, vs. multi-focused.

If you want to empower a man in his masculine energy, ask him to fix something for you, even if you are perfectly capable of fixing it yourself. Or, if you just need to “vent” about something that happened, let him know. Be clear that you’re not needing him to fix it for you. Understanding this difference between men and women, and developing the ability to communicate about it can go a long way in a relationship.

Men crave freedom.
It is fulfilling for a man to feel emptiness, release, and freedom. He wants to connect with the world, but he also wants to feel free from the confines and stress of the world. Women, on the other hand, seek connection and fullness. This doesn’t mean that men don’t want relationships. But what it does mean is that sometimes he needs to retreat and withdraw in order to refocus his energy. When you notice a man doing this, notice what happens when you pull back and give him the space to disconnect. If he comes back, he’s just being a healthy, normal man. It doesn’t mean he is disconnecting from you!

Remember, he needs to feel freedom, at the same time that you’re aching for connection. Two opposing needs can cause a lot of misunderstanding, unless you’re able to recognize the differences. He is simply replenishing his energy. Allowing a man to have the space to withdraw and then reconnect is vital.

Men thrive on feminine energy.
Now hear me out, strong, independent woman. This is NOT sexism. This is about masculine and feminine energy, and the need for balance in a relationship between two people. Women have become wonderfully, amazingly self-sufficient, free, and strong since the women’s liberation movement. This is not about surrendering our independence or equality.

What it is about is this… we have become so damn strong that many of us have no idea how to relax into our true feminine essence, where we can flow, allow vulnerability, and receive support from a man in his true masculine energy. It creates imbalance in a relationship where balance is the key to a fulfilling, thriving, passionate relationship. We must allow men to be men, and allow ourselves to be feminine (and yes, we can still be strong) women.

Men thrive in their masculine energy, where they can be protector, provider, fixer, and hero. If we don’t allow them to rise because we are holding up our walls to be strong, they feel emasculated and powerless, and we don’t feel safe to express our true feminine energy. Let them be men, and your strength as a woman will flourish.